Washington (CNN) - In a potential preview of the next presidential election, a new national poll suggests Hillary Clinton and Chris Christie would be neck and neck if the 2016 contest were held today.
But a CNN/ORC International survey released Thursday also indicates Clinton leading eight other possible Republican White House hopefuls in hypothetical general election matchups.
According to the poll, 48% of registered voters say they would support support Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey, if he were the GOP nominee, with 46% saying they would back Clinton, the former secretary of state, U.S. senator, and first lady, if she captured the Democratic nomination. Christie's 2-point margin is within the survey's sampling error. The CNN poll is the third non-partisan, live operator national survey conducted this month to indicate a possible matchup between Clinton and Christie basically all tied up.
If she decides to run, Clinton would instantly become the overwhelming frontrunner for the Democratic nomination. And Christie, fresh off his landslide re-election last month as New Jersey governor, is on top of the pack in recent polls of the race for the Republican nomination.
So what's the secret of Christie's strength against Clinton?
"He performs particularly well among independents, winning nearly six in 10 in that key group," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland siad. "He also wins a majority of suburbanites and older voters, something that no other GOP hopeful [that was] tested was able to do against Clinton."
"Christie doesn't win in the Northeast, although he does hold Clinton to a bare majority there, but he has a solid edge in the Midwest while playing Clinton to a draw in the South and West," Holland said.
Not surprisingly, the survey indicates a gender gap: Christie has a 14-point lead among men but loses women to Clinton by 10 points.
Clinton leads in other 2016 showdowns
The statistical tie between the Garden State governor and the former secretary of state is pretty remarkable compared to how Christie's potential GOP rivals do against Clinton in the CNN poll at this early stage of the game.
Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the House Budget Committee chairman and 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee, loses to Clinton by eight percentage points. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky trails by 13 points. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a 2008 GOP presidential candidate, is down by 15 points.
And it doesn't get any better for the GOP from there.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who ran for the nomination in the last election, is down 17 points to Clinton; freshman Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas trails by 18 points; Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Rick Santorum, a 2012 GOP presidential candidate and former senator from Pennsylvania, are 19 points behind; and former two-term Florida Gov. Jeb Bush faces a 21-point gap between himself and Clinton
One thing to remember: Surveys taken this early in a presidential cycle are often heavily influenced by name recognition.
"Keep in mind that polls taken so many years before an election have little or no predictive value," Holland said.
The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International from December 16-19, with 950 registered voters nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.
And when people find out what type of a disaster NJ has been under Christie and actually drill down a little more than what the national media has give you, this won't be much of a contest.
One of the highest unemployment rates in the nation
Job creation one of the lowest in the nation
Massive cuts to education in spite of what he likes to tell you he did
Tax breaks for companies that NEVER finished projects, some upwards of 4-5 years now
If the only thing people like about him is that he speaks his mind and are voting on that alone we are all screwed because his actual record as governor has been a disaster. Oh and by the way with the minority communities in NJ Christie got about 5-10% of the vote...which is laughable even for a republican in NJ.
One of the ONLY reasons he won re-election so easily is 1) Nobody even heard of his opponent and she didn't have nearly the funds and 2) The only thing most people care about in NJ is property taxes (one of the highest in the nation) and those have been steady.
You all need to drink some more Kool Aid......Benghazi is water under the bridge and there was never a cover up. All the GOP has given up on that one months ago when they took the foot from mouth and pie from face.
Hillary is way to the left of Obama (she would probably lead the fight to repeal the ACA so she can have it replaced by single payer). Christie has shown himself to be a very moderate Republican. In the war over independents (and even right-leaning Democrats such as myself .. although I will probably switch to Republican before 2016), Christie wins hands down.
If the true Republicans can get past the Tea Party obstruction over a Christie nomination, then Republicans may yet win back the Presidency in 2016. I am hoping that they do as I am not a Hillary Clinton fan.
Hey Libs remember back in the late 90's the Clintons started making the welfare recipients work for their welfare checks, maybe Hillary would be a good choice.
"say they would support support Christie" what an odd sequence of words
Does Christie got Obamacare?
The Establishments for the sheeple!
Polling a hypothetical match-up between Clinton and Christie is pointless right now for at least two reasons. First, as so many have already said, this election is almost 3 years away. But second - and much more importantly - there's no way that the GOP is ever going to support Christie in the primaries. When people say that Christie appeals to moderates and independents, they're correct ... he DOES appeal to that demographic. And that's precisely WHY the Republican Party - at least in its present-day, extreme right-wing, Tea Party incarnation - will never support Christie for a Presidential run. He'd never be able to make it past the GOP primaries and/or convention. About the only way Christie would ever have a chance at the Presidency is if he ran as an independent himself. But given the no-win track record of past independent candidates, I can't see him wasting time and effort on going that route. Bottom line: I think the polling organizations should stop wasting their time including Christie in their polling. It just ain't gonna happen.
A Clinton-Cristie ticket in 2016...unstoppable.
Christie is the only one that is even reasonably normal.
DUMP BOTH PARTIES !! Jesse Ventura or Rosane Barr for President. Cleant out Congress – RE-elect No One. Vote only for Independants ( no more corporate or foreign bought-and-owned congress.)
Who will be President in 2016? Watch who attends the Bilderberg meeting in 2015 and you'll have the answer.
I'm a Libertarian, I'm hoping there are Republicans, Democrats, and others that are tired of career politicians making it to the Presidency and will actually research these candidates and their Lobbyists who are preparing to donate millions to these two.
It's two years out. Settle down
@tobygall Wow, talk about drinking the kool aid; or is it tea? Union memberships have fallen significantly over the last three decades and during that same time, we have achieved the most economic disparity in a century. The idea that "unions" are getting rich off of the taxpayer is laughable! Who is getting rich off of the taxpayer? Corporations and the wealthy that have gamed the system in their favor. When unions were more influential, they provided a check against corporate greed. Those days are over, at least for now. Economic inequity, corporate welfare, subsidies, tax giveaways and loopholes for the wealthy are what is wrong, not unions.
Did you ever get the feeling our country has become one continuous presidential campaign?
how the media works...if Christie gets ahead, they will beat him down; and if Clinton gets ahead, they will focus on her...this will be a continous process.
Now if only they could run WITH each other, rather than against....
Chirstie will never be the Republican candidate.
even though he is a fowl person, he is not fowl enough for the Republican party.
They will nominate someone like Cruz who is the intellectual level of the party.
Dr, Ben Carson for President! Hillary?!! You've got to be kidding!!!
Can't wait to see the GOBP stuff Jeb Bush down the tea potty's throats 2012 Mitt the twit style.
Republicans would never pick Christie. He's been in a picture with poor people in the last year, and he didn't put 'Tea Party' before 'Republican' in his affiliation box.
"Keep in mind that polls taken so many years before an election have little or no predictive value."
He says while preparing yet another such poll.
I like Christi , but couldn't vote for him because of the GOP bozo agenda and their lax of a healthcare workable alternative and the GOP teaparty disfunctional . But I would vote for Hillary without a doubt!!!!!!
Did they forget to ask about Huntsman? One of the few Republicans worth paying attention to.